Bahrain Grand Prix predictions: Hamilton Price Boost tempting

Bahrain Grand Prix predictions: Hamilton Price Boost tempting

Date: 20/03/2022

Venue: Bahrain International Circuit

Four months after an incredible end to the 2021 Formula One season, we’re ready to go again with our 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix predictions.

Rule changes, drivers switching camps and testing results all have to be taken into account at this time of year, but the big two players remain the same.

Lewis Hamilton will be seeking a fourth straight win in this race and has to be rated a value bet in the Price Boost of 4.5.

Max Verstappen pushed him close 12 months ago when forced to hand the lead back after an illegal overtaking manoeuvre on lap 52 and is 2.75 in the betting.

However, Mercedes raised eyebrows in Barcelona testing with their radically-revised machine and look to have stolen a march on the rest of the perennial powerhouses.

The focus is on virtually non-existent sidepods, designed to provide greater airflow, improving downforce, and effectively making the car go faster.

Red Bull complained that the design goes “a step too far” in adjusting to the biggest technical overhaul of the sport’s rulebook in a generation.

But Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff commented: “When you go down a specific development direction, the FIA scrutinises it and you make them a part of the process.

“We were keen in not running alone, but being in touch with the FIA, and that is why I think it will be okay.”

British youngster George Russell has replaced Valtteri Bottas as number two at Mercedes after showing promise with Williams and can be backed at 13.0 in the Bahrain Grand Prix odds.

It is hard not to simply stick with seven-time world champion Hamilton, though, especially as he will be fired up to avenge last year’s controversial title defeat.

How the 2021 Drivers’ Championship finished

1 Verstappen (Red Bull) 395.5 points, 2 Hamilton (Mercedes) 387.5 pts, 3 Bottas (Mercedes) 226 pts, 4 Perez (Red Bull) 190 pts, 5 Sainz (Ferrari) 164.5 pts, 6 Norris (McLaren) 160 pts, 7 Leclerc (Ferrari) 159 pts, 8 Ricciardo (McLaren) 115 pts, 9 Gasly (Alphatauri) 110 pts, 10 Alonso (Alpine) 81 pts.

Verstappen was rewarded for his dramatic, last-gasp 2021 triumph by being given a new £200million deal which will keep him at Red Bull until the end of 2028 at least.

“Our immediate focus is on retaining Max’s world championship title, but this deal also shows he is a part of the team’s long-term planning,” said principal Christian Horner.

“Max was the outstanding driver of last year. He was the world champion and mentally it takes that pressure off.

“He has that first tick in the box, but I don’t think anything will change in the way he goes racing. He will give 110 per cent.”

Red Bull constantly impressed with their speed on race days last year, but the vibes are that they may be playing catch-up with Mercedes regarding the new regulations.

Second string Sergio Perez was repeatedly outperformed by Verstappen but did win one race in Azerbaijan and is 17.0 here.

Ferrari fared well in testing and some value hawks may take a punt on Charles Leclerc at 5.5 or Carlos Sainz at 7.5 in their Bahrain Grand Prix betting tips.

The Italian outfit did enjoy wins here in 2017 and 2018 with Sebastian Vettel, as well as past victories for Michael Schumacher, Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso, so they know what it takes.

McLaren have also hinted they can build on last season’s improvement, with Lando Norris quoted at 26.0 and Daniel Ricciardo 51.0.

Past Bahrain Grand Prix winners

2021 Hamilton (Mercedes), Verstappen (Red Bull), Bottas (Mercedes)
2020 Hamilton (Mercedes), Verstappen (Red Bull), Albon (Red Bull)
2019 Hamilton (Mercedes), Bottas (Mercedes), Leclerc (Ferrari)
2018 Vettel (Ferrari), Bottas (Mercedes), Hamilton (Mercedes)
2017 Vettel (Ferrari), Hamilton (Mercedes), Bottas (Mercedes)

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